HIDALGO, Texas (KVEO) — On Monday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem visited the 48 National Guard troops deployed in the Rio Grande Valley from her state.
“This is a national security threat behind us. What we see behind us is an open border,” said Noem, who stood in front of what appeared to be migrants being detained by Border Patrol agents.
In late June, Noem joined a list of Republican state governors who committed to sending their National Guards to the Southern border, including governors from Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska, and Iowa.
The National Guard typically does not have immigration law enforcement capabilities, but they help by keeping a lookout.
“They’re locating individuals as they’re coming up to the border and notifying Border Patrol as to where they are,” said Noem.
However, Noem said the National Guard could potentially be moved to what she referred to as busier parts of the border along the Falcon Dam, and be given more enforcement capabilities.
“They could potentially get some deputization; to give them some law enforcement capabilities down here,” said Noem.
Noem said she does not know just yet how much money is left, or how much is needed to continue funding the South Dakota National Guards, but said she is looking to ask Texas for help.
Another reason Noem sent troops to the border was due to a drug and human trafficking problem she says comes from the Rio Grande Valley and it is affecting her home state.
“I think our biggest problem in South Dakota is meth, heroin is a problem, fentanyl,” said Noem. “Remember South Dakota has nine Native American tribes and I don’t have any jurisdiction on what happens on those reservations, so a lot of Mexican cartels have a presence on a couple of our reservations.”
Noem said that there are ‘a lot’ of donors from the state calling to offer donations to the cause, and said she does not yet know when the 48 troops will return home.
“That’s the interesting thing is that I believe Texas would like them to stay longer, Border Patrol indicated that they needed their help,” said Noem.